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New Zealand Plant Protection 68 (2015): 442

Growth and vegetative reproduction of Chilean flame creeper (Tropaeolum speciosum) in two diverse climates of New Zealand

C.A. Dowsett and T.K. James


Chilean flame creeper is a summer active perennial vine growing to 5 m or more. It has an extensive rhizomatous root system and has proved very difficult to control with herbicides. Both the above and below ground stems are soft, without any tough outer skin or bark. For these studies plants were grown in 50 litre tubs in Waikato and Southland and four replicate tubs were destructively harvested at monthly intervals to measure the root structure and top growth. Plant material for both studies was sourced from an infestation at Mangaweka. The rhizomes appeared to be entirely replaced with none of the remaining original root fragments sprouting in the second year. Also, the growing rhizomes initiated secondary rhizomes before they emerged. It appears that this is the reason this species is difficult to control as the herbicides were not translocating into the secondary rhizomes. The growth of Chilean flame creeper from Waikato and Southland was markedly different. After 4 months growth the Waikato plants averaged 151 mm of primary rhizome and nine emerged shoots while Southland plants averaged 116 mm of rhizome and three emerged shoots. At this time, however, plants grown in both locations had tertiary rhizomes.

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